More and more I realise that this simple rule is absolutely true: what you focus on will improve.Over the past few months I’ve been trying to improve so many things in my life that it would take a while even to write them down. Not everything was a complete success, but I’m more than happy with the results I’ve achieved so far. And now that I gradually become more and more conscious about the need to maintain my focus on the right things, I notice that some experiences of mine were an absolute success, and that it wasn’t just a coincidence.
I’ve realised that only the things I’ve paid most attention to got greatly improved.
Know what your goals are
I’ve said it before, and I’m going to repeat it: know what your goals are! Because if you’re going to focus on something to make it happen and to improve it, you have to be absolutely sure where you’re going with your goals.
Wrongly chosen focus could mean that you’re going to improve things which don’t really matter to you. Improving them will take time and efforts, but will not bring you closer to your goals. And this, done repeatedly to yourself, brings a certain frustration.
Let your focus do the work for you Too often people let great ideas go simply because they fear they’re not going to have enough time, money, skill or some other resource to make the idea work. And while it’s generally a good approach to be conscious about your abilities and resources, you should never worry about things without first taking time to analyze them.
What I’m trying to say is that if you pick an idea, and immediately start worrying about everything that comes to your mind, it’s not going to get you anywhere. This isn’t what we call a productive thinking.
What you need to do instead is to write an idea down, in as much detail as possible. That’s the first step towards a proper analysis and planning. Then, start writing down what it’s going to take you to make the idea work. DON’T worry about HOW you’re going to make it all work. Just write it down as if there’s going to be someone else who will magically do all the work for you. Remember: you’re trying to build a plan which works, not the plan which will simply scare everyone (including yourself) away from a brilliant idea.
After you’ve written everything down, pick a few of the most important areas of the project. They are the ones you want to keep your focus on. And for each of these, come up with at least 2 next steps to bring you closer to your goal. Don’t worry about how big or small these few steps are – but make sure they are real to you, they are some things you can go and do yourself, right now or a little bit later.
After this, let your focus do the work for you. Print the goals out in a large font and put them on your desk or your whiteboard. Make sure you review them daily, and get into a habit of coming up with at just one step which will bring you closer to your goal, every day.
What you should aim for is a progress, not a difference it will or will not make. You want to get into a proper state of mind – into a planning mode, when your creative thinking will give you more and more actions you can do to bring you closer to your goal. You want to learn how to get into this state on a constant basis. And after you master this habit, you will be shocked how easy it is to move towards your goal.
Never underestimate the power of focus!
Don’t be surprised with your resultsSometimes maintaining a focus will make a positive difference somewhere you never expected it!
Here’s an example for you: two months ago I’ve realised that I was making quite a number of spelling errors as I wrote my articles. Most of these errors were made because I was in such a creative state while working on an article, that my mind would simply disregard any spelling questions – and so some words would always be spelled incorrectly, mostly the same words with the same spelling errors.
I had realised that bad spelling wasn’t doing me any favours, and so I’d made a decision to spell-check every article of mine before I post it.
It was that simple: there was a problem which needed my attention, and so I maintained my focus on it to ensure the quality of my articles is as high as I’d like it to be. Simple, yet effective!
But what I didn’t expect is that it would actually improve my spelling!
You see, it turned out that I was misspelling only a certain set of words, and I was so consistent making spelling mistakes, that in a matter of weeks I had learned most of the words I would usually misspell. They were not very long words, they were not very hard to spell properly, it’s just that I had a pattern of misspelling them. But over the course of two months, I’ve fixed the spelling of these words so many times that I’ve automatically started typing the same words correctly right at the time of writing!
So with the last few articles of mine, I had literally no spelling mistakes (I know this because I still maintain the focus and do the spell-check), all this just because I’ve paid attention and maintained my focus.
Isn’t it wonderful? I never expected that my focusing on spelling would improve anything but the quality of my articles, and yet – it helped me greatly improve my writing. Just like me, be prepared to see improvements everywhere and not just in the area you’re focusing on! You’ll be surprised how seemingly unrelated things gradually improve because of a minor tweak in your approach.